What Wondrous Creatures Live in the 1000 Islands?

Great Blue Heron

Discover the exciting natural environment of the 1000 Islands with these incredible native creatures!

The 1000 Islands region is situated in one of the most unique and varied environment in the world. Wetlands, forests, river and fresh water ecosystems can all be found side by side here in the 1000 Islands, creating habitats for some truly amazing creatures. From furry critters to crabby crayfish, and majestic birds, here is a closer look at some of the special animals that share their home with us at the Aquatarium and the environments that support them.

The diversity of underwater habitats in the St. Lawrence River allows many fish species to call it their home. This makes the 1000 Islands a great location for year-round fishing, as well as for casual boaters to catch a glimpse of the teeming life underneath the river’s surface.

Brown Trout

But that’s not all. Because of the amount of international traffic that passes through the St. Lawrence River each year, the 1000 Islands region now accommodates not only for indigenous underwater life, but also for several non-native aquatic species.

Just a few of the underwater creatures that can be found in the 1000 Islands region include:

  • Atlantic, Chinook and Coho salmon! — These special fish are known for returning to their place of birth to spawn, sometimes after spending years at sea. Salmon must lay their eggs in fresh water, making the St. Lawrence River — their route to the Great Lakes — an important aspect of their habitat.
  • Sturgeon
  • Trout
  • Rock bass
  • Bluegill

Come and see first-hand some of these fish species and more at our new discovery centre!

Otter in the water

But the 1000 Islands region isn’t only an important habitat for fish. The surrounding lands in the St. Lawrence River region include both coniferous and hardwood forests, freshwater marshes, dunes, grasslands and more. During the winter season, ice covers much of the river’s surface, providing a wintery passage for animals to move between islands and to and from the shoreline.

Here is just a taste of some of the mammals that are found in the 1000 Islands:

  • Black bear
  • Fox
  • Elk
  • Beaver
  • White-tailed deer
  • Moose — This is the largest living member of the deer family. These giant herbivores and live in the forests just beyond the north shore of the Great Lakes.
  • Coyote
  • River otter — These friendly critters are not just fun to watch. They also lead amazing lives both in the wild and in captivity. At the Aquatarium, get a closer peek at the life of a river otter at our specially designed otter habitat!
  • Gray wolf
  • Canada lynx — This medium-sized cat can be found in certain regions throughout Canada, as well as Alaska. They are nocturnal mammals that prefer to live in solitude, emerging at night to hunt for snowshoe hares, birds and rodents.
Snowy Owl

But that’s not all. The St. Lawrence River itself is a vital part of the Atlantic Migratory Fly-Way. Migratory birds follow this path during their seasonal migrations because the St. Lawrence River is teeming year-round with food, water, shelter and natural habitat.

Here is a glimpse at some of the bird species that live in and around the 1000 Islands area:

  • Bald eagle — These beautiful raptors are known for their unique plumage and has a wingspan of around two meters. Bald eagles build the largest nests of any North American bird, sometimes reaching depths of four meters and widths of 2.5 meters.
  • Great blue heron — This large wading bird has a long, sharp bill that it uses to catch its prey. The heron eats fish, crustaceans and even small rodents, and is known for its beautiful grey-blue color.
  • Wood duck
  • Snowy owl

Here at the Aquatarium, we strive to inspire curiosity about what the 1000 Islands region has to offer. Through our expertly developed animal habitats, aquariums and hands-on discovery centre, we hope to foster a deeper sense of wonder and amazement at the natural world surrounding us.

Take a closer look at some of the flora and fauna and fish species of the 1000 Islands in our image galleries.

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